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SleeplessOne
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2021 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
I'm giddy, too.


.. now I just hope to see the series find an audience ...

I've said it previously, but for some people the Great God's War might be the perfect gateway to Donaldson's work.

I'm not suggesting it is his best work, but there is none of the sexual assault that makes The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant and The Gap such a hard sell, nor so potentially ''triggering'' to certain readers - yet it also covers themes that Donaldson consistently explores throughout his ouevre.

Unfortunately there has been very little ''buzz'' around cyberspace that I've been able to detect - the first two books really did sink like stones; they deserve better.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2021 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr.Land wrote:
Many thanks to Steve for putting in all those long, grueling hours of rewriting to make TKG acceptable. It couldn't have been easy. I'm relieved and excited that we will all get to read the concluding volume, even if it's not exactly the way the author intended.


I hope I'm not stating the bleeding obvious too baldly, but I'd presume there'd be a certain amount of re-structuring (which would often involve re-writing) when paring down a big novel like that.

Sure, there'd be some extraneous material that could be snipped (SRD might not see it that way!) but I'm sure a ton of stuff needed to be re-phrased more concisely and that would be tough; he'd have to go against the natural rhythms of his writing.

Heroic effort indeed.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2021 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, there's a lot of things going on here.

Donaldson - it has to be admitted - is an over-writer. Earlier in his career, publishers demanded a lot of hard editing from Donaldson. And, as far as I can tell, this has generally been a positive thing when looking at the result. But I believe that, at one point, Lester del Rey needed a dedicated editor just for Donaldson's work.

Over the years, the publishing industry changed. Publishers don't provide the editing services the way that they used to. Donaldson's third Chronicles was allowed to stretch to four books, whereas the second Chronicles, also written as four books, was trimmed back to three. I am sure Donaldson was allowed some artistic license in order to finish his magnum opus. But I think also that industry changes played a part. And to be sure the result was, to many people's thinking, a bit over-long and over-explained.

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
For a number of reasons, several of which involve the changes in the publishing industry over the past 20-30 years. Back in the days when Lester del Rey gave me my "break," editors still read unsolicited manuscripts (the "slush pile," manuscripts submitted "over the transom"). But what I call the conglomoratization of modern publishing has put huge pressures on publishers, forcing them to change the way they do business. The vast and faceless corporations which now own virtually all of US publishering don't give a damn about books, or authors, or (God forbid) literature. They care about bucks. And they demand profits from their subsidiaries (only some of which are publishers) on a scale previously unknown in publishing. This has had two primary effects: 1) publishers are under tremendous pressure to produce bestsellers, and only bestsellers; and 2) publishers have been forced to dramatically reduce their costs of doing business. One result is that, as a general rule, the average editor today is doing the work that three editors did ten years ago, and five twenty years ago. (There are other results, but they aren't relevant at the moment.) He/she can't afford to put much time into editing; and he/she certainly can't afford to read unsolicited manuscripts. Therefore much of the work that editors used to do has been transferred to agents. An editor simply won't read a manuscript that doesn't come from an agent; and the agent had damn well better do a fair amount of editing before he ever shows the manuscript to an editor.

(07/30/2004)


The Great Gods War is now where Donaldson's over-writing style is hitting hard up against a publishing industry wherein Donaldson is no longer a big-name author. The story needs to be trimmed back. But the publishers don't lend a hand in this any more - they just send it back and ask for 100K less words.

So what I am trying to say here is that this really isn't something new, and it's not necessarily bad. The only thing that's really new is the way it's unfolding.
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* I occasionally post things on KevinsWatch because I am a fan of Stephen R. Donaldson; this should not be considered as condonation of the white nationalist propaganda which is posted far too frequently on this website.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I still don't understand in all this is how some of the fantasy/sci fi works that are published nowadays are published in this environment. Some of the stuff I have read don't hold a candle to some of the better authors but still have a way of being published.

I guess if I looked hard enough I would probably find:
1. They get published because they are better selling then I suspect
2. They get published because they choose publishers that don't have high quality standards
3. They are willing to get paid less to get their works published
4. They are willing to trim/edit as much as necessary to get their works published

Or some combination of all four.
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